With 85% of precincts reporting, it looks like Ron Paul will earn a 5th place finish. This isn’t what I expected, but Paul certainly did better than polls were predicting.

The latest Iowa polls gave Paul between 6% and 8% of the vote. At the end of the night, Paul will end up with at least 10%. That double-digit number is a big deal

It looks like the Republican side will turn out like this:

1. Mike Huckleberry (my new nickname for Huckabee. He reminds me of a huckleberry.)

2. Mitt Romney

3. and 4. McCain and Thompson are in a dead heat. I guess Iowans watch a lot of “Law and Order”

5. Ron Paul

6. Rudy Giuliani

7. Duncan Hunter

So, my predictions were pretty good. I got the first two and the last two right – things simply got a little muddy in the middle.

On the Democratic side (in case anyone cares):

1. Barack Obama

2. and 3. Edwards and Clinton are in a dead heat, but it looks like Edwards will come out on top.

So, what does it all mean? A lot more than it should.

Unfortunately, the media gives a lot more credence to Iowans than anyone should. One state has voted. One. Out of 50. And the media will spend the next couple of days droning on and on about the top 4 in the Republican race and the top 3 on the Democratic side. This isn’t such a big deal for the Dems, as the margin between the first and fourth place finishers is as wide as Hillary’s “cackle smile.” On the Republican side, however, the race is really quite close between the top 6 finishers. Even though Giuliani didn’t make a show in Iowa, he’s still registering with a national audience, and Ron Paul’s message continues to resonate with more and more people every day. So, to count out the 5th and 6th place finishers is a mistake and quite unfair to those of us who don’t get to vote for another month.

What I look forward to seeing is how ABC handles their debate, which is reportedly going to be between the top 4 finishers in Iowa. This would, of course, mean that the media “golden boy,” Rudy Giuliani won’t get an invite. We shall see.

Rumors are that Fred Thompson may drop out. Cash is running low, but support in Iowa was better than expected. Again, we shall see.

Dodd and Biden have already dropped out of the race.